Marco RubioAs I reported yesterday, Don't Get Excited About Immigration Reform. Greg Sargent reports this morning, Confusion Envelops Senate Immigration Plan. Basically, the eight senators can't quite agree about what exactly they mean by the Southwestern border commission. The Democrats claim that this will just be an advisory commission and that it won't have veto power about whether the federal government can move forward with the rest of the plan.

But Marco Rubio says he wouldn't support a plan that doesn't require the approval of the border commission. Rubio is in a difficult position. He wants to appeal to Latinos[1] but he doesn't want to offend the Tea Party angry-crazy coalition that just loves him. You might think he is just another senator, but right now, he is the Republican Party's best chance at the White House in 2016. The other Republicans will not go along if he doesn't.

The whole "secure the boarder" clause in the Senate "framework" is a typical delay tactic. We see this tactic used a lot in gun law reform. Senator X would love to support a ban on high capacity magazines, but there is $100 in the bill for gun safety awareness and Senator X really can't accept more than $50. (If the bill is changed to have only $50 for gun safety awareness, Senator X will find something else in the bill that "unfortunately" stops him from supporting it.) In this particular case, the Republican senators have come up with a brilliant idea: they pass immigration reform without doing any actual immigration reform.

It will be interesting to watch this go forward. Regardless, I remain unconvinced that anything real will happen. This is yet more of the Republicans pretending to reach out to (in this case) Latinos while signaling to the angry-crazy coalition that they have nothing to fear.



[1] You might think that Rubio doesn't need to appeal to Latinos. After all, he's one of them! But have you ever looked at him? He's less Latino than I am. He's a very white Cuban. And Cuban-Americans have a very strange place in the Latino ecosystem. Whenever I hear them talk, they seem primarily motivated by all the wealth their families lost when Castro took over Cuban. In Florida, they lean strongly Republican. So they aren't at all typical of Latinos generally in their voting.